Tour of Duty - Arrival *LONG*
Posted By: PerseusSpartacusDate: 6/28/12 5:27 p.m.


Welcome to the first edition of our Tour of Duty series. I will start us off with the first level of M1A1, named, suitingly, 'Arrival'. Now, in earlier versions of M1A1, Arrival began with a small area that looks a great deal like the Ground Floor of Pathways into Darkness. However, I will ignore this intro for the current edition, seeing as it has been removed from recent versions of Aleph One and it has little to do with the level itself.

When we start the level, we're in the back of a small offshoot of a corridor. It's not terribly dark, but it is dim. If we turn around and look behind ourselves, we'll notice that we're backed up against a door. When we try opening it, however, it acts as though it is locked. Based on the events which transpire in the Marathon Manual, we can assume this door would lead into Hangar 7A. Careful analysis of the map (most easily performed with a map editor like Weland or Pfhorge), however, reveals that the door is angled off away from the Hangar in such a way that it couldn't possibly be connected to it. So where does it lead? Did something happen in between the events of the Manual and the beginning of the level? Did we have to perform a brief space walk in our armor? Who knows.

I find our first encounter with the aliens to have rather odd positioning. After all, most new players would still be trying to get their bearings on the controls when all of a sudden Pfhor Fighters come jaunting up from both sides. It would kinda freak you, though, to hear the chittering of the aliens from both sides in the middle of a poorly-lit hallway. Creepy! Anyways, it isn't really that hard to deal with these guys. A bit of punching should do the trick. The first terminal is kinda boring. In fact, at this point, you're probably expecting Doom all over again (in other words, no plot-line, just 'kill the aliens/monsters'). The rest of the level is a fair bit more interesting. Indeed, at one point, you find a window that you can see the Pfhor ship through. You'd normally just hurry past without a second thought, readying your fists for some more knuckle-splitting action. But when you do happen to find it, without any explanation as to what it is, your mind is probably going to overload with questions. 'What is that thing?' 'Is it dangerous?' 'Why do my bullets pass through windows into the vacuum of outer space without any explanation?' Er, no comment on that last one. ;)

You might be forgiven for not getting confused by how different the Compilers are from the Fighters, but it is interesting to note that Leela doesn't give us any description of what the "alien creatures that are capable of interfacing with the Marathon's systems" look like on the last terminal. She just says, and I quote,

"I have learned that there is an Alien creature that is capable of interfacing with our systems. You must kill any of these creatures that you find. It is a priority that we stop them. Even now, they are penetrating my defenses." - Arrival, Terminal 4

At this point, how are we supposed to know the orange robed guys are the ones she's referring to? We can only guess based on how often the Compilers seem to be located near a terminal. Indeed, a lot of people probably thought we'd encounter a new enemy in the next level, only to encounter an increased number of Compilers. I guess Leela wasn't in a very helpful mood, eh?

It's interesting to note that, hidden inside the secret ammo cache (located above the pit with all the Orange Fighters in it), there is a Napalm Canister and some SPNKr ammo. This isn't the last time we'll encounter something like this, though. Indeed, the trend carries into the first level of Marathon Infinity, Ne Cede Malis. But I digress.

The music for the level is chosen pretty well, even if I don't necessarily enjoy the song by itself. Interestingly, it would probably fit better on a darker level. I say this because Arrival isn't necessarily dark. The cramped rooms and hallways result in the area being lit up more by our flashlight, and the lights in the more open areas are generally more dim, rather than truly dark. What's more, the 'fog' on this level is blue, making it less disturbed and more just plain melancholy. On the other hand, I felt truly creeped out on the level 'Try Again', which has the same music, darker rooms, more open spaces, and red/orange fog.

On that note of being creeped out by red fog, I shall end the first edition of Tour of Duty. On the upcoming edition, I'll discuss the next level, 'Bigger Guns Nearby'. Tour of Duty is more directed at engaging the community than voicing my own opinion, of course, so I will ask you all various questions.

How did you like this first edition? What do you think I could improve on for next time? What do you like or not like about this level?

P.S. - If you have a question you'd like to ask or a thought you'd like to express (so long as it is related to the current topic), please feel free to do so on this thread.


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Pre-2004 Posts


Tour of Duty - Arrival *LONG*PerseusSpartacus 6/28/12 5:27 p.m.
     Re: Tour of Duty - Arrival *LONG*Godot 6/29/12 4:36 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Arrival *LONG*treellama 6/29/12 5:07 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Arrival *LONG*PerseusSpartacus 6/29/12 8:13 a.m.
                 Re: Tour of Duty - Arrival *LONG*Godot 6/29/12 9:47 a.m.
                       Re: Tour of Duty - Arrival *LONG*PerseusSpartacus 6/29/12 10:15 a.m.
                             Re: Tour of Duty - Arrival *LONG*treellama 6/29/12 10:52 a.m.
           Re: Tour of Duty - Arrival *LONG*Yossarian 7/3/12 12:20 p.m.

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Pre-2004 Posts



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